My apologies in advance if this one is a bit “blokey”…
Now that the spring horse racing carnival here in Melbourne is underway, and we gather strength for another fun Derby Day at Flemington racecourse, where the most popular people among the 100,000+ crowd are the paramedics (on bicycles) handing out thousands of band-aids to beautifully dressed women with horribly blistered feet and footwear that will inevitably finish up in their handbags, I am reminded of an amusing yet disastrous male plumbing incident that unfolded many years ago in the “Nursery” enclosure’s latrine.
Standing as a large permanent concrete structure, the men’s toilet block was designed to process large volumes of snappily dressed guys presenting in varying shades of inebriation, most of whom had waited foolishly until their bladders were about to explode before swaggering their way through the reveling crowd toward “the block”. They were seeking a quick pit-stop, in and out, so they could refill and repeat. The room had one big long urinal at one end, and could house, if i can recall correctly, about 50 gents, maybe 7 across, 7-8 deep.
The odor in this room was staggering.
My very old mate Matt and I found ourselves lining up at the back of the queue, choosing separate lanes. Matt called out to me very loudly from about 3 metres away “Geez Mate, how bad is the SMELL in this room!” I agreed, in the same loud tone, that, yes, the smell wasn’t too good. Matt followed up with “there must be at least 50 people in here. You wouldn’t want to be at the front of the queue and get STAGE FRIGHT, would you?”. The crowd enjoyed this. I added “You would be really feeling the pressure with all those people waiting behind you, staring at the back of your head!” Others in the congregation now joined in the conversation, and the light-hearted rowdiness that followed softened the stench in the room to a dull assault. As the minutes passed, however, there was a clear shift in the dynamic of the traffic flow. Some lines were moving smoothly, others now appeared to be in suspension. Several personal plumbing malfunctions had clearly materialised up ahead. Guys with heaving bladders began jumping lanes to avoid roadblocks. Someone yelled out “Think of running water!” but it was too late. Unfortunately for those affected, there was no discreet retreat, no-where to hide, and the more they tried to relax and take their mind off what wasn’t happening, the more pressure they felt. And then there was the domino effect, rippling through the lanes, and it was knocking them over like nine pins.
Now this is where the story takes an unexpected turn.
It happened to me.
And, I have to say, I thoroughly deserved it. Karma.
When I eventually made it to the front of the queue, there was just a tiny seed of doubt in my own mind, and that was enough. With all the talk and the banter in the room, and all the focus on the issue, I fell into the same big hole that I had helped dig.
The crowd behind me went wild. They saw this as an outstanding development, and some world-class heckling followed. Matt worked the room with his very best comedy. There were even some people singing (badly) by now.
When Matt and I eventually re-emerged into the beautiful November sunshine and understood fragrances like never before, we were greeted by a few people lingering around for the post event review, which included one of the affected guys, and we vigorously apologised to him. Thankfully he and the others saw the lighter side of it, which was a relief (but a poor choice of words).
So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, please do not think about this article (this is probably only applicable to the gents, who do this sort of queuing thing en masse). Instead, think of cascading waterfalls, snow melt gushing rivers, or the snowy mountain hydro-electric scheme. Anything with a good constant steady flow.